1. a gratuity; a bribe.
|Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 189: You must tip. It is the sort of sweetener we folks expect, to make everything right!|
|(con. 1820s) Settlers & Convicts 89: The handsome ‘sweeteners’ (bribes) which old D—’s profits enabled him to give to the constables .|
|Western Dly Press 17 Apr. 3/5: ‘Sweeteners’ to government Officials [...] The first thing said to him by the contractor was ‘I suppose, sir, you expect the usual 2½ per cent commission?’ This meant a preliminary present, or ‘sweetener’ of £5,000.|
|Manchester Eve. News 10 Jan. 2/3: Diplomacy, which in this instance assumed the shape of a money bribe and an even more effectual ‘sweetener’ in the shape of duty free rum and gin.|
|(con. 1910–20s) Hell’s Kitchen 120: Sweetener ... a gratuity; bribe; also refers to coaxing.|
|Dundee Courier 16 Aug. 2/2: Now it seems that the Argentinian cattle-breeders got only two-thirds of their £10,000,000 sweetener from their Government.|
|Boss of Britain’s Underworld 3: A thief had to pay many sorts of people [...] bribes and sweeteners.|
|Viva La Madness 367: I’d made a point of transferring the sweetener [...] to an account I held in the Jamaican branch of a Canadian bank.|
2. an encouragement.
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 147/2: This was indeed anything but a ‘sweetener.’ The bare idea of such a loss prevented us sleeping at night.|
3. (US) a drink.
|Spirit of the Times (N.Y.) 18 Mar. in Humor of the Old Deep South (1936) 43: Let’s take a sweetener and go to bed.|
4. a hard blow.
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 18 Mar. 1/4: Terry [...] popped a sweetener on the ivories.|
|Night in the New Hotel in Darkey Drama 4 43: I’ll gib you one ob my sweeteners if you don’t chain up! (flourishes umbrella).|
5. a scolding, a ‘talking-to’.
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 28 Nov. 3/3: After a ‘sweetener’ from the Captain, Kitty was discharged and her man of business bound over the keep the peace.|
|Our Boys 145: The colonel [...] with an oath commonly called a ‘sweetener,’ roared out peremptorily: ‘Who the h-ll fired that gun?’.|
6. (UK Und.) in pl., the lips.
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
7. the penis.
|Lustful Memoirs of a Young and Passionated Girl 24: When he saw by her countenance that she was beginning to feel some pleasure he began slowly to move his sweetener out and in.|